Category Archives: Legal Ethics

Multijurisdictional Unauthorized Practice

From the Ohio Supreme Court: Out-of-state debt settlement lawyers are not authorized to provide legal services on a temporary basis to Ohio clients, according to a Supreme Court of Ohio Board of Commissioners on Grievances & Discipline advisory opinion. It….. To continue reading this legal news please click Read full information...

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Preparing Your Client for Deposition- Part 13

Before her deposition, your client should understand the legal underpinnings of her case. You should explain to her what is needed for her to win the case and what the other side needs for them to win their case. Go through the causes of action alleged in the complaint and explain the elements of each and the defenses to each. If there is a counter or cross claim, explain the significance of those too. For her to perform optimally, she needs to understand her role in the case and for her to do that, she needs to understand what each side needs to prove (or disprove). You went to law school and your client didn't, so don't get bogged down on every legal nuance. However, explaining the legal side of the case to her will help her understand how the facts she will be testifying about either advance or hurt her case. And explaining the law to your client will help you become adept at explaining it to the jury. Therefore, during one of your depo preps, have a list of the causes of action, the elements and defenses (pulling the jury instructions can serve this purpose), and run down the list with her. This legal outline will serve as a framework for the facts of the case, and as an outline for your depo prep. Share this: Twitter LinkedIn Email Digg Reddit StumbleUpon Facebook Like this: Be the first to like this post... To continue reading this legal news please click Read full information...

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Patently Unethical

A Massachusetts attorney who had been suspended since 2009 was disbarred in a default action by the Supreme Judicial Court. The attorney had engaged in misconduct in a series of patent-related matters. He also had misappropriated a $20,000 advanced fee…... To continue reading this legal news please click Read full information...

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Building a Better Lawyer

As a young lawyer, you owe it to yourself to become a better lawyer – to constantly improve your skills – whether its your writing, your research, taking a deposition or arguing a motion. With an ever more competitive work force, getting by is a sure way of falling behind. To stay ahead of the curve, consider the following suggestions to build yourself into a better lawyer. Evaluate your strengths and weaknesses. Start by being honest with yourself. Sit down with a pad and pen, and write down a list of your strengths and a list of your weaknesses. Don't be too hard on yourself, and don't be too easy. Address the weaknesses. Pick one or two of the weaknesses, and commit to working on them for the next year. Set realistic goals on how you can overcome your weaknesses and commit to achieving those goals. Is your writing just average? Set realistic goals on improving it, such as reading grammar and style books, taking a writing course or getting an article published. Build on the strengths. Pick one or two of your strengths, and commit to making them even better. If you want to set yourself apart from other lawyers, don't just be a strong writer, be a great writer. Don't just be good at taking depositions, be great at taking them. Consider taking CLE classes, reading books and thinking outside the box for other opportunities. Find a role model and emulate her. To get better, you have to find better attorneys and do what they do. Is there an attorney you admire at your firm? Does she take killer depositions? Is she a great rainmaker? Study them. What do they do that you're not doing? Just as importantly, what don't they do, that you're doing? Whatever they're doing, they're doing something right. Figure out what that is and copy it. Read others' transcripts. Read the hearing and deposition transcripts of other attorneys. What do they tell the judge? How do they argue their clients' case? What questions do they ask witnesses at depositions? What questions don't they ask? If you want to improve your oral advocacy skills, you need to read how others do it. If you want to take a better depositions, read how others take theirs. And don't limit yourself to reading the transcripts of just the top partners. Read the transcripts of as many attorneys you can get your hands on. Study the different styles. You can learn something from every attorney in your office. If nothing else, you can learn how not to do things and what approaches are not particularly effective. Read others' writings. In addition to reading others' transcripts, read others' writing. Read other attorneys' briefs, memos, motions, letters to clients and other such documents. Study the attorneys' style, word choice, the arguments they make, how they make them and ask yourself if the writing convinces you, moves you, changes you. See what works and what doesn't, and strive to emulate what you feel works and avoid what doesn't. Study others' resumes. Visit the web sites of other firms, pull up the profiles of their attorneys and study their resumes. See what they've accomplished. What organizations do they belong to? What have they've written? Where have they spoken? Attorneys' resumes show you what goals they have achieved. Looking at others' resumes makes you think what goals you want to set for yourself and some ideas of how to achieve them. Perhaps you can get ideas of publications that accept articles from attorneys, seminars to speak at or organizations to join. Keep going to school. You're never too old to learn something new. Don't take the minimum number of CLE credits you have to take. Consider attending an extra seminar or two during the year. If you, as so many of us, don't have the time to attend more seminars, consider listening to CLE tapes in your car. Set goals and strive for them. Ask yourself the question, "Where do I want to be five years from now?" Do I want to be at the same firm? Do I want to be a partner at the firm? Do I want to be considered an expert in a particular field of law? Ask yourself where you want to be, devise a plan on how to get there and execute it. Never be satisfied. Never rest. Never be complacent. Never be satisfied with what you've accomplished. As you stand still, others are running past you. They're getting better as you stay the same. Eventually, they will pass you and others will pass you, and your great skills, by comparison, won't be so great anymore. Strive for more. Share this: Twitter LinkedIn Email Digg Reddit StumbleUpon Facebook Like this: Be the first to like this post... To continue reading this legal news please click Read full information...

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Alice Woolley, "Rhetoric and Realities: What Independence of the Bar Requires of Lawyer Regulation"

Article. Abstract: The Canadian legal profession is largely self-regulating. Provincial law societies governed by lawyers elected by their peers set the standards for admission to the profession and for ethical conduct, and investigate, prosecute and adjudicate allegations of professional misconduct by lawyers. Advocates for this regulatory structure rely on the concept of "independence of the bar," the idea that lawyers must be free from any external interference with their representation of clients. Critics of the regulatory structure, meanwhile, argue that independence has a broader meaning than the advocates suppose and that, in any event, the self-regulatory structure of the Canadian profession is not necessary to ensure independence. This paper presents the varying interpretations of independence of the bar and suggests that while the advocates for self-regulation have a more justifiable understanding of independence than do critics, the concept of independence of the bar is not itself central to assessing the validity of any particular regulatory scheme. Rather, the things that independence should protect – the ability of lawyers to be zealous advocates for clients within the bounds of legality – should be used to assess the adequacies of any regulatory scheme. Does regulation ensure that lawyers fulfill their duty of zealous advocacy? Does regulation ensure that lawyers remain within the bounds of legality? Does regulation ensure access to justice? With these criteria in mind, and using recent changes to the regulation of lawyers in England and Wales as a comparator, the paper then analyzes the adequacy of regulation of Canadian lawyers with respect to competence, the general structure of professional regulation and access to justice. Based on this analysis, the author proposes changes to improve lawyer regulation in Canada. These changes do not abandon self-regulation. However, they include separating the adjudicative function of the law societies into a distinct dispute resolution entity with expanded regulatory powers in relation to hearing complaints brought directly by the public, addressing a broader range of matters in relation to competence and client service, and providing remedies beyond sanctioning lawyers. The changes would also include the creation of a legal regulatory review office in each province, governed by lawyers and non-lawyers alike, to exercise some constrained oversight and review of law society activities. Finally, the changes propose a variety of ways to enhance access to justice such as focusing law society activities on improving the functioning of the market for legal services through providing greater information to clients... To continue reading this legal news please click Read full information...

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